Bobcat with Rabies Bites Vermont Man

A bobcat that bit a Vermont man in May tested positive for rabies, the first this year in the state and only the second in two years.

Bobcat with Rabies Bites Vermont Man

According to the CDC, despite a decline in rabies cases, 30,000 to 60,000 people a year receive post-exposure treatment in the United States. Photo: iStock/Carol Gray

The man, who was not identified, received medical treatment after, according to the Vermont Departments of Health, and Fish and Wildlife. Vermont game wardens euthanized the bobcat and transported it to the Department of Health Laboratory to be tested for rabies. 

“I thank our wardens and officers from the Windsor Police Department who responded quickly and professionally to resolve the problem before more people could be bitten,” said Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Christopher Herrick. 

Rabies is a viral disease usually transmitted through a bite. Rabies infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. Other mammals most commonly associated with rabies are foxes, bats, canines, skunks and raccoons. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, human cases of rabies are rare in the United States. Only one to three cases are reported annually, the CDC says, and just 25 cases were reported between 2009 and 2018. Seven of those infections were acquired outside the United States and its territories. 

Cases in the United States have been declining since the 1970s thanks to more awareness, better animal control and vaccination programs, research and the availability of rabies biologics. The CDC says that despite the decline, thousands of animals each year require observation or testing for rabies, and some 30,000 to 60,000 people receive rabies post-exposure treatment.


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